Thursday, June 11, 2009
The Monarchs Return
The fabulous orange and black beauties are back, flitting around our zinnia patch as I type. Although I can't explain why they first fascinated me, since my interest in them well predated my knowledge of their amazing migrations to Mexico, I have always felt a kind of joy at their return each year. Now that joy is mingled with relief each spring, since the year may come in my lifetime when they are gone, extinct due to habitat destruction and the use of chemical pesticides. These little pollinators are in grave danger.
I am hard at work crafting an article on a recent interview with Dr. Lincoln Brower, one of the world's top experts on monarchs and their migration. The article will make an appearance in the Got2BeGreen online journal very soon. I'll be sure to send out the link when it's done, but let me just tell you the news for the monarchs is not good if things both in Mexico and here in the states don't change. I don't want to give too much away before the article is published, so with monarchs on my mind, I thought I would share with you some of the artwork they have inspired. In the meantime, if you want to help the monarch survive, the very best thing you can do right now is to STOP the use of herbicides and pesticides in your yard this year. For more on alternative methods of pest control, those not harmful to butterflies, (and all the other creatures living in your gardens, ditches, and yards) go here. More on monarchs from Dr. Brower very soon, but in the meantime, enjoy some monarch magic.
Wafting on the breeze, each puff of wind sends
luminous lantern-thin wings fluttering. Golden-
orange kites patterned with black drift higher,
spiral back, flutter forward in a whirling dance.
Watching from wrought-iron windows over dusty
courtyards, families wait with golden-orange candle
flames flickering. They weave floral wreathes,
harvest the red soil, working to gather gifts
while they wait for the return of the dead.
Winging across summits, millions flit and fly
through aquamarine skies, sip flowers, cover
streams, swarm and swoop, fill the sky, shrouding
deep forests in communal comforters, their woven
warmth against winter’s chill.
Worshipers gather, jubilant, watching the celestial
flights of ancestors returned home. Gifts of warm
remembrance promenade through winding roads,
placed on graves to flash in firelight. Natives walk up
winding paths, showing reverence to these protectors
whose winged beauty cloaks winter and wakens
once more with the wealth of spring.
The following works were either taken during or inspired by my trip to Mexico to see the monarch wintering grounds. We were there just as they began to wake up and prepare for their return to my back yard here in Central Virginia. It was magical, literally, a world shrouded in butterflies. I highly recommend experiencing the magic at least once in your life.
All paintings and photographs provided by me, Amanda C. Sandos. For works for sale, visit The ARTiculates.